A calm morning at the Qalandiya CP
Summer is approaching and the days become longer. The sun already rises when we make our way to the Qalandiya CP and park on the Israeli side. We have a hot day before us, and now already it is possible to wear short sleeves, which is rare at this hour of the morning in the area of Jerusalem. We are glad to note that today the situation at the queues it also fortunate. Even when we march to the CP people tell us that today the situation is good and that there are no queues.
And indeed, when we arrived, at 5:15 approximately at the CP itself, the five checking posts were already active and there was no queue. People arrived and entered the third enclosure, where the turnstile was open and people passed without waiting. The soldier and the policeman who were at the aquarium announced from time to time on the loudspeaker that post no. 5 was open and free. Later in the morning, when there were more people, the turnstile was closed from time to time, and use was made of the turnstile at the end of the second enclosure, and later also the first one, which were not activated at the beginning. very rarely there was an accumulation at the queues, and at no stage did they spill out beyond the shed.
The cake and beigele sellers were here, as usual, and the coffee stand was opened a short time after we arrived. People came and were happy to find out that there was no queue. Many greeted each other. When queue were formed women were allowed to merge in at the opening to the enclosure. A man approached us and said he was a merchand and that he suffered from backpain. He asked wether we could ask that a humanitarian passage be opened. We explained that usually it was opened at 6 o'clock only, but that if the situation of the queues would be as good as now they would probably not open a humanitarian queue at all. In the end he asked that his place should be kept at the queue and sat down until the moment arrived at which he could proceed to the enclosure. Fortunately this happened very quickly today.
A new phenomenon which we encountered today was that one of the sellers at the coffee stand (which is situated outside of the shed) came to the queue with a tray on which there were ready coffee cups and announced "kahva, kahva". In no time he managed to sell all the cups he had on the tray.
Around six o'clock there was a changing of guards of the soldier in the aquarium and P. from DCO arrived also, and some time later the blond policewoman. Most people didn't wait for the opening of the humanitarian gate, but mixed into the regular queues which weren't long and proceeded quickly. A couple with a child approached the policewoman and were told to wait, but they gave up and preferred to pass through the regular queue. Later whoever asked was told that the humanitarian gate wouldn't be opened. The queues were reasonable and whenever the turnstiles were opened they were formed at the enclosures only.
At 6:20 approximately we too joined the queue. This time we went up to post no. 1. The girl soldier was surprised to see us. She asked if I was a journalist. No, I am from Machsom Watch – I answered. It is not clear whether she knew what it was about. She talked with somebody on the phone, registered my details on the computer and told me to pass on. Hanna who passed after me wasn't asked any questions.